Choosing a cryptocurrency exchange is a vital step for investors. The easiest way to convert cash to coins is with a centralized exchange. I will help you find the best crypto exchange, trading platform, and crypto trading app in this guide.
There are many exchanges available – some have been around for longer than others. When choosing an exchange, look at fees, security, cryptocurrencies available, trading tools, customer service, and more.
While some stock brokers offer crypto trading, cryptocurrency trading doesn't offer investor protection.
Consider your goals and expectations when deciding which crypto exchange is a good fit. You can also use multiple exchanges for different areas of specialty.
Table of Contents
- 1 List of the Top Crypto Exchanges
- 2 What is cryptocurrency?
- 3 How to pick a crypto trading platform?
- 4 Types of Exchanges
- 5 How to Invest in Cryptocurrency
List of the Top Crypto Exchanges
We analyzed top crypto exchanges based on various factors to find the best. We considered fees, features, security, educational content, and more.
This is our selection:
- eToro – Best Crypto Exchange Overall
- Coinbase – Best Cryptocurrency Trading Platform USA
- Binance – Low Crypto Trading Costs
- Kraken – Best Crypto Exchange
- Robinhood – Best Crypto Trading Mobile App
eToro – Best Overall
eToro is a platform that has been popular in the UK and Europe. Recently, they have expanded to allow for US traders. They have a wide variety of digital assets that you can buy and sell.
This platform is great because it offers a practice trading account so you can give it a try before committing.
We would recommend this platform for both experts and beginners in cryptocurrencies.
|Offer 15 cryptocurrencies that can be traded||$10 minimum to buy any cryptocurrency|
|Can access this platform online and via a mobile app||High minimums are required|
|Ideal for beginners||Wide spreads|
Cryptoasset investing is highly volatile and unregulated in some EU countries. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.
Coinbase is a popular choice because it allows you to invest directly with USD. It is widely used in the US. What makes them great is that they offer custodial accounts for investors and traders. This is useful for beginners who want to try trading with cryptocurrency.
A downside to this is that users with custodial accounts do not own the private keys to the coins.
Coinbase has a free Coinbase Pro platform. Coinbase Pro is a cheaper fee structure and more features. Coinbase Pro acts as a stepping stone for more experienced traders and offers features for more advanced users.
We would recommend Coinbase for beginners and advanced traders.
|Simple user interface||High fees if you’re not using Coinbase Pro|
|High liquidity||Users do not control wallet keys|
|Variety of altcoin choices|
Kraken was founded in 2011 and is partnered with the first cryptocurrency bank. With Kraken, you can buy and sell bitcoin and trade in your coins for money.
Kraken also allows you to exchange your crypto with other digital currencies.
We would recommend Kraken to advanced traders.
|Good exchange rates||Limited payment methods|
|Low transaction fees|
|Easy to use|
Robinhood changed the game in trading. Much like their stock trading, their cryptocurrency trades are commission-free. They are not available globally but can be used in the United States and they are spreading quickly.
The downside to free crypto trades is that these trades are limited.
We would recommend it to beginners who want to try out cryptocurrency trade without risking too much.
|Free cryptocurrency trading||Limited features|
|Sleek, easy to use platform|
Bitstamp was founded in 2011 and is based in Europe. It is a first-generation digital exchange.
It has gained a reputation as being a safe and reliable trading platform. It has secure two-step verification technology for wallets and insured cold storage.
Bitstamp offers free accounts. After opening your account and making the deposit, you can start trading immediately.
|High-level security||Not beginner-friendly|
|Available globally||High deposit fees|
|Low transaction fees||Bad user interface|
|Limited payment methods|
Binance is a centralized platform that focuses on crypto-to-crypto trading. What makes Binance interesting is that they offer their coin called BNB (Binance coin). They also offer a discount if you decide to trade with BNB.
Binance has a 0.1% trading fee and has a variety of altcoins available.
They are rapidly growing in popularity because of their amazing offerings and low trading fee.
We would recommend this platform for both beginners and advanced traders.
|Offers their coin||Does not offer fiat trading|
|Low trading fee||Limited payment methods|
Gemini is a licensed US-based exchange. Being licensed means that Gemini is held to the same regulations and standards as a US-based bank. It also comes with impressive security measures such as cold storage.
Gemini has a maker-taker fee schedule and offers discounts to high-volume traders. They don’t charge fees for deposits or withdrawals so that was a major win in our book.
A downside is that Gemini is not fully available worldwide. Another downside is that they only trade in three currencies, the US dollar, ether, and Bitcoin. This might discourage advanced or serious traders from investing with Gemini.
We recommend this platform to beginner or experienced traders.
|High volume trading||Limited currencies|
|Amazing security technology||Not fully available worldwide|
|User-friendly||Lacks margin trading|
|Licensed in the US|
What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency. You can use it as a way to pay for goods and services online or trade it to make a profit.
The uses of cryptocurrencies are regulated by online ledgers to make sure online transactions are secure. A lot of companies have begun using their cryptocurrencies that you can use in exchange for their goods and services. These are usually called tokens and you can think of them as casino chips or arcade tokens. Cryptocurrency works by using blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology that is spread among computers worldwide. Blockchain manages and records online transactions as well.
There are over 6700 different cryptocurrencies. The most famous currency, Bitcoin, is currently worth around $563.8 billion.
Brokers are the middlemen between the buyer and the exchange. Brokers can buy up large amounts of cryptocurrencies and then sell them on their platforms.
To make a profit off this, brokers sell cryptocurrencies at a higher rate than the exchange. If you choose to work with a broker you get access to services like easy payment methods, working systems, and support.
How to pick a crypto trading platform?
Before jumping into the world of cryptocurrencies, here are a few things you should consider:
Most cryptocurrency platforms should offer you privacy settings. The two-step authentication process is a common setting that can be manually enabled.
This is essential to your security. The two-step authentication gives you extra protection against hackers. It protects your account and personal information.
What can you trade?
Platforms offer different digital currencies. When choosing a platform you should check which coins they offer and if you’d like to trade with them.
For beginners, this might not be high on the list of needs. But, it is important to know which coins are worth trading.
If you’re an active trader, checking daily or monthly limits are useful. Some trading platforms might have transaction limits. Going over these limits can lead to increased fees so this is something to keep in mind.
Exchanges should have this information easily available on their website. Before jumping in you need to understand the fees that might be attached to your account and trades.
Fees can differ from platform to platform and from transaction to transaction.
Something every trader should consider is the liquidity options offered by their preferred trading platform. How easy is it to convert your coins to cash? What are the costs of doing this? These are a few questions you should consider.
It is good to check out the trade execution speeds of a trading platform. That is, how fast a trade can occur.
If you’re an active trader slow trade execution speeds might be a deal-breaker. This might not be an issue for beginners or casual traders.
This is a good thing to check on if you’re a beginner and want to learn by experience. The educational content a platform offers can help you with your trading and how to use the tools offered.
This is an important feature that every trading platform should have. The research content should be robust and easy to use.
In the case of short-term cryptocurrencies, this is important because they are sensitive to relevant news.
When choosing a trading platform you should check out if the platform has multiple minimums.
Things like the minimum amount needed to open an account, the minimum deposits or investments you need to make, and minimum account balances.
These minimums require you to have a certain amount of money in your account or pay a certain amount to trade. If you’re a beginner we would advise you to choose a platform with low minimums.
You should know what payment options are available to you. Does the platform allow for credit and debit cards? PayPal? Wire transfers?
You should also consider if the platform has limited payment options and which currencies they support.
The tools a platform offers can make a huge difference in your trading methods. Tools like historical price charts that show market trends can help you decide when and how to trade.
There are also tools like real-time data streaming and charting. For active traders, being able to customize these tools to suit your needs is a must.
When choosing a platform it is important to make sure that it is available in your region or country. Some platforms have user functions that are only available in certain areas.
You need to make sure that your preferred platform is fully accessible in your country.
This is one of the easiest things to research when looking for a platform. You can check user reviews, google the exchange, and read articles on the platform.
When trading you want to be as safe as possible to avoid scams and hackers. The securities a platform offers can guard your interests and investments.
You should check whether the platform has security measures in place like cold storage.
If you’re a trader on the go or if you have a hectic lifestyle, it might be important for a trading broker to have multiple platforms.
A popular option is having a mobile trading platform app and most brokers offer this. The most common platforms we have seen are an online-based platform, desktop app, and mobile app. Most platforms offer all three. If you are looking to do a lot of trades day trading crypto, check out our top rated apps for day trading.
Crypto leverage trading is a tool that you can use to open long or short positions by leveraging borrowed funds. This lets you maximize your potential profits while using a small amount of money.
This is a great way to increase profits. If you are an active, advanced trader this is something you could consider however, we would not recommend this tool for beginners.
When leveraging borrowed funds you open yourself up to compound profits and losses so keep this in mind.
The first thing to know is that the regulation of cryptocurrencies differs from platform to platform and from country to country.
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced trader, checking if a platform is regulated by the government and other financial institutions is important.
Regulation affects how coins are exchanged, bought, sold, and traded. It also affects the security measures in place.
Types of Exchanges
These are websites you can join to buy and trade cryptocurrencies around the world. This is done using prices set by the broker.
Trading platforms are websites or applications that connect buyers to sellers. When using a platform a fee is charged for each transaction. Fees vary from platform to platform.
This is when people can trade cryptocurrencies with each other. There are platforms where traders can buy, sell, and trade on their terms.
- Centralized and decentralized exchanges
This has to do with control over your account. In centralized exchanges, most of the control over your account stays with the party that runs the exchange. In decentralized exchanges, you control your account.
- Fiat-to-Crypto exchanges
This is when traders and exchange fiat for cryptocurrencies or vice versa. Traders can also use fiat to buy coins.
- Crypto-to-Crypto Exchanges
This is when traders can trade their cryptocurrencies with each other.
- Custodial vs Non-Custodial Exchanges
When making an instant trade, in the case of custodial exchanges the exchange will hold your money for you. Non-custodial exchanges do not hold your money.
How to Invest in Cryptocurrency
Investing in cryptocurrencies is similar to investing in stocks. Here is a step-by-step process:
- Choose a cryptocurrency broker
- Sign up
- Get your account verified
- Deposit money into your account
- Buy coins with the money you’ve deposited
- Sell or trade your coins for a profit or loss. The profit you make gets moved back to your account balance.
How to buy Bitcoin or Crypto
With step 5, you will have to make sure that the platform supports your credit or debit card. You could also transfer cash from your bank account. You can read our guide on how to buy bitcoin in Singapore.